Saturday, April 19, 2014

Vertigo in Indianapolis

As I have gotten older, I have noticed that I do not as well when it comes to closed spaces and heights. I forgot to take this into consideration when I decided to go to the top of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in the heart of Indianapolis last month.

The first time I approached the monument on the last day of my visit, it was still closed. I utilized this time to snap a few shots of the nearby statues and buildings that surrounded Monument Circle. The carved limestone statues by Rudolph Schwarz have always been favorites of mine.

The boring building shown here replaced the English Hotel/Opera House in 1951. During a 1957 visit to Indianapolis, Frank Lloyd Wright said, “Indianapolis, like every big city is doomed. The only good building I saw downtown is the one used by J.C. Penney’s downtown, which is a little radical. It probably was designed by some out-of-town man.”

He was wrong on both counts; it was designed by Nathaniel Owings of Indianapolis, and compared to the gorgeous building it replaced, it was a piece of poo. Here's what the Opera House looked like:

Both of the historic images above are from the Indiana History site. Here's what FLW's beloved building looks like today:

To spice up your morning, here's a vintage FauxD© shot of Monument Circle:

The 1916 Hilbert Circle Theatre was restored in 1982.

One of the features that came back to life was this beautiful mural on the exterior. This Grecian pastoral scene was "painted" using tinted cement by H.A. Wheeler.

But enough about the surroundings. Let's go to the top of the Monument!

As you enter, you'll see this grim and foreboding face. I should have paid attention!

My two choices were to take the narrow stairs or the tiny elevator. I paid my $2, entered the ancient elevator, and closed my eyes for what seemed like an eternity.

Exiting the elevator, I still had a number of stairs to climb. I thought I was going to hurl. Fortunately, the amazing views were worth it.

Here you can see the Christ Church Cathedral and The Columbia Club:

How about this cute little house atop the main building?

The Statehouse:

The top of the Ghostbusters Building. Well, actually, it's the Circle Tower, but it looks like the building from Ghostbusters to me.

The Indiana World War Memorial:

I was able to make it back down, but not without getting drenched in sweat. And then before I knew it, it was time to fly home. At the airport, this 1933 Essex Terraplane used by famed criminal John Dillinger was on display:

The hood ornament:

Hope you enjoyed my trip to Indianapolis as much as I did!

See more vintage & current Daveland Indianapolis photos on my main website.

1 comment:

Fifthrider said...

I can't imagine many who enjoy being that high up. If man were meant to fly God would have dropped him out of a plane.

Totally agreed on the FLW comments. Last week I read a piece about FLW being hired by Walt to come speak to his animators about architecture in art in the 1930's. FLW ended up berating the animators, tearing down their craft, and in a backhanded way tried to foster his artists to leave Disney and pursue something nobler. I never had less respect for FLW than I did after having read that chapter. So FLW likes the JC Penney's built by an "obvious outsider"? Man, this guy was chocked full of opinions. ( And yes, both the previous and succeeding buildings were much more interesting. )